Jan 21, 2015

Review: The Sham

The Sham
The Sham by Ellen Allen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


When love leads to death, be careful who you trust…

Eighteen-year-old Emily Heath would love to leave her dead-end town, known locally as "The Sham", with her boyfriend, Jack, but he's very, very sick; his body is failing and his brain is shutting down. He's also in hiding, under suspicion of murder. Six months' ago, strange signs were painted across town in a dialect no one has spoken for decades and one of Emily's classmates washed up in the local floods.

Emily has never trusted her instincts and now they're pulling her towards Jack, who the police think is a sham himself, someone else entirely. As the town wakes to discover new signs plastered across its walls, Emily must decide who and what she trusts, and fast: local vigilantes are hunting Jack; the floods, the police, and her parents are blocking her path; and the town doesn’t need another dead body.



This book started out with a bang in a horrific and graphic scene with 18 year old girls bullying a 10 year old boy. A few pages into the story, I wondered if I would be able to stand such cruelty and explicit evil. I am glad I pressed beyond the 1st chapter. I read the entire book in 1 night because I had to know .... Everything. I received an advance copy of this book to provide an honest review / opinion of.

Once the initial shock of the events at the beginning of the book were over (the bullying scene), I was able to enjoy getting to know Emily and Jake. Jake was a mysterious character and I wondered about him the entire book. I was really pulling for him not to be the killer by the end, but couldn't see much of a way around it. There is a mild supernatural element in the story... Jake can physically feel other's energy, vibes, or whatever you might call it. Jake gets physically sick in high stress, dangerous situations. The bully group of 4 girls are absolutely horrible, with the open descriptions of their deeds unsteadying me immediately.

Once some of Jake's own secrets begin to surface, I doubted his innocence (as I am apparently meant to). Emily tried remained faithful, but had some doubts when she found out Jake was actually a boy named Matthew. Jake's explanations (or lack of explanations) made him look guilty of murder & being crazy to me as well as to the police in the story. I enjoyed the fast pace, and the back & forth about what might be up with Jake.

I was in knots in the last chapters thinking that Emily was falling into the same trap the other girls must have in their last hours alive. There is a great ending and lots of twists & turns on the way. I could relate to Emily's need to get out of a small town. Very fast paced & full of surprises.

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Review: Eyewitness to Titanic

Eyewitness to Titanic
Eyewitness to Titanic by Terri Dougherty

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


View the story of the doomed ship Titanic through the eyes of those who knew it best. Builders, crew members, passengers, and explorers who discovered the wreck each have their own perspectives. Feel the pride of builders as they put the final touches on the grand staircase and the deep sadness of survivors who left loved ones behind. It’s the story of the Titanic like you have never heard it before.

For ages 10-13.

*Includes primary sources, including quotes from those who survived Titanic's sinking and primary-source images (Common Core link)

*Packed with infographics, including tables, charts, bulleted list, and graphs

*Explores the Titanic from the different perspectives and insights of those involved with the ship - the builders, crew members, passengers, and those who searched for the ship all had different experiences (less)


The photos and information in Eye Witness to Titanic were a great resource for factual information about the Titanic. My 4th grade son spent a few months learning about, and reading various books about the Titanic and it's disasteriois end in his class at school. The children were required to read a few different books, and hopefully, in the future this book can be used as a good source of information.

The information was presented in an easy to follow manner that leant greater understanding to the Titanic. I recommend this book for children and adults who wish to become more knowledgeable about what made the building and sinking of this ship and it's passengers so memorable. I was given this book free of charge to provide an honest review of.

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Jan 20, 2015

Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My son loves this series. I enjoy reading it with him. My fav. thing is the quirky drawings that accompany the story. I love that it is from the point of view / being told by a young boy trying to figure out life day by day. The book is easy for young boys to relate to because the situations are so realistic. The illustrations & child like feel of the book make it fun and believable as a "journal" of a kid. AWESOME! Through reading with my son, I have noticed that many other mid grade books are following this "sketch" type of style to relate to young kids (such as Timmy Failure which is also hilarious).

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Review: The Hunger Games Trilogy

The Hunger Games Trilogy
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved all 3 books. If you enjoyed the movie you should read the books to learn all of the details that were changed or left out.

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Review: The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor
The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

LOVE THE SHOW & even loved the book. I usually am very disappointed in shows after I have read the books they were based on. There are some differences, but I still throughly enjoyed the book. The story gave great insight into "The Governor's" madness. I loved the detail & explination of how things progressed after the dead began to walk.


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Dec 28, 2014

Review: Spell Check

Spell Check
Spell Check by Julie Wright

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book description:

A skeleton is rattling its way out of the closet marked “FAMILY SECRET! KEEP OUT!”
Allyson Peterson believes that being hanged by the Salem High Witches is the absolute worst thing that can happen. But when her powers, wrested from the trolls of ancient Sweden, manifest themselves, she realizes that a prank hanging by vindictive cheerleaders is the least of her worries.

Ally accidentally sends her parents to the jungle to fight anacondas, turns her brother into a mute, and curses the entire cheerleading team with an illness that has no cure, proving that her spells need a little checking. Her Swedish grandmother shows up to help her through the worst part of all—surviving the Troll Trials and saving the guy of her dreams from a vengeance that has festered through-out generations.
The power is in her, if she can just get the magic right.


Fun, silly, clean, teen read. Spell Check is the first Julie Wright book that I have read and I was very impressed that the interest was kept while keeping it clean. Most of the books I read (even some recommended for teens) veer a little towards too adult. This story was very typical of school kids, pranks and mean girls.....yet with a fun family (witch coming into powers) twist.

I enjoyed the witty personality of our new teen witch and I absolutely loved the calm and humorous way her grandmother brought her into her new powers. The story was full of wishes and unwishes like growing up sometimes can be. Not everything works out perfect, but it wouldn't have made as much sense if it had.

Good clean book for teens and adults.

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Dec 14, 2014

Review: 50 Body Questions: A Book That Spills Its Guts

50 Body Questions: A Book That Spills Its Guts
50 Body Questions: A Book That Spills Its Guts by Tanya Lloyd Kyi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book description:

"Unbelievable facts about an amazing specimen -- YOU! "

Most of us eat, run, or sleep without thinking about it. But our bodies are masterful machines of intricate design that perform amazing feats daily.

The fifth book in Annick's successful 50 Questions series guides readers through the details of how our bodies function, from the miracles of genetics, to immune cells shaped like sea monsters.

With her engaging, lucid style, Lloyd Kyi incorporates recent scientific research to explain our body's complex workings. Kids will love finding the answers to questions such as: Do blood cells travel single file? (In our capillaries, blood cells have to squeeze through one at a time.) How is your spine like a racetrack? (Messages race down the nerves in your spinal cord faster than a NASCAR driver.) Is your brain like plastic? (Your brain's ability to change is called "plasticity.") Can your lungs take a hike? (Your lungs and blood vessels adapt to altitude changes.) Are there aliens inside you? (The invasion of microscopic living organisms started the moment you were born.)

You'll discover how people avoided epidemics in ancient Pakistan and why your goldfish can see things you can't. Hilarious illustrations will keep kids laughing as they learn.


I love educational books that are just plain fun to the point it doesn't feel like learning. This book was an amazing idea with so much information that even the non- biology minded of us can enjoy it. I was given this book for an honest review. I think most children would love it just because of it's cute appearance plus answer to many questions that amaze.

I enjoyed the book as an adult and appreciate the lessons and info. Awesome book for kids.

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Review: The Blacksmith

The Blacksmith
The Blacksmith by Susan Shultz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book description:

My name is Ainsley. I live among the dead.

Meet Ainsley. Ainsley lives alone, and she likes it that way. Ainsley has some secrets. Dark secrets.

Sometimes, Ainsley feels like the Blacksmith is the only one who will ever understand her. The Blacksmith resides in the graveyard in her garden. You see, Ainsley’s heart was broken long ago, and now it’s dead. As dead as the Blacksmith’s. They belong together.

Then there’s Sam: sweet, loving Sam. Ainsley was abandoned by anyone she ever loved, but Sam has always been there. If her heart weren’t already dead, Ainsley might even say she loved him.

Not even Sam knows the depth’s of Ainsley’s darkness…and lately, she’s come very, very close to revealing it to him.

But the Blacksmith says no. And what the Blacksmith says, goes.


I received n advance copy of this book to provide an honest review.

The story started creepy immediately with Ainsley's description of her life, home, and dead heart. I thought she was literally dead, but later determined that she either communicates, or thinks she does, with the dead family members and friends in the graveyard she tends behind her house.

Ainsley has a job as a librarian and a best friend Sam from childhood. Ainsley also has quite a secret night life where she lets the monster inside her out. She claims she incapable of love and also tells of some of the horrors of her friends who she talks to in the graveyard. If she could love, she would love Sam.

The story continues mysteriously with a touch of old horror stories where you don't know what she means about a dead heart. She had miscarriages and can't carry a baby.... Is it a figure of speech or is her heart ? Supernatural. Does she actually talk to the dead or is she crazy? I love it, and of course like old horror it ends horrifically sad.

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